#1 Oklahoma (197.925) – It’s still true that Oklahoma will look at anything that isn’t 198 this season and say, “Cute story,” but seeing as this score was by far the highest mark for any team this week and lifted Oklahoma back to the #1 ranking (after dropping behind Florida with last Monday’s score), it goes in the good category. We saw major improvements in the vault landings this week for a 49.650 that Oklahoma will hope to carry through to meets where beam is also on task in order to get over that 198 hurdle.
#5 Auburn (197.500) – Auburn was able to move up two ranking spots this week thanks to a season-high 197.500, the second best score of the weekend nationally, in defeating Arkansas in its home opener. Auburn will still view this as just a starting point in terms of what home scores can be (a counting 9.725 on vault reinforces how much room there is still to grow here), but Auburn is among the very few top-10 teams that can look at their week 3 score without fully vomiting out of repulsion. You’re pretty happy with this, even if it wouldn’t have been a counting home score last season.
#11 Ohio State (197.225) – Meanwhile, Ohio State will have a five-star, no-notes reaction to this 197, notched in a victory over Iowa, as it’s the program’s top score of the season and third-best score in the all-time of all the evers that have ever been. It’s a 100% keeper result that granted Ohio State a two-spot rise in the rankings, putting the team within striking distance of the top 10 heading into next weekend’s away clash against a currently wound-licking Michigan team. Speaking of…
#12 Michigan State (197.200) – It will be the victory over Michigan for them, breaking a 32-meet win streak for Michigan against MSU dating back to 2007. From the 70s to the early 90s, Michigan State had the best of the rivalry, going 33-2 (.943) in their first 35 meetings, but since then, Michigan had gone 75-5 (.938) over their last 80 heading into this meet. In terms of more relevant information, Michigan State recorded a useful final score that could very comfortably count for NQS and also tied the all-time school vault mark with that stick-a-thon rotation.
#15 Iowa (196.900) – Iowa may have lost to Ohio State but will be able to cry into the very warm pillow of the T-5th best score in team history, a definitely countable road number for NQS that also keeps Iowa ranked in the top 15 despite not even having a home meet yet. Although, all of the top seven scores in Iowa history have come at road meets. Something to consider. Something that Iowa will aim to rectify at Friday’s home opener against Minnesota. Last season, bars and beam were Iowa’s lower-ranked events, and this week’s 49.200 bars and 49.250 beam amount to the team’s best combined bars/beam result in 6 years.
#16 Oregon State (197.200) – Oregon State continued its steep upward trajectory (195 in the first meet, 196 in the second meet, 197 in the third) with this 197.200 and an upset over a higher-ranked Denver team. Of course most critical in this one was breaking the 49 mark on bars for the first time this season, so while bars was still the lowest event score, it was now competitive for the first time in 2023. Jade Carey’s 39.825 in the all-around tied Leanne Wong for the highest individual score so far this season.
#17 Georgia (197.225) – It’s very easy to chalk this one up to crazy Georgia home scoring (and believe me I will), but you also still have to stay on the apparatuses in order to take advantage, and this marks a higher home score than anything Georgia managed in the entirety of 2022, which will spark hope in this new generation’s ability to restart the machine. They’ll still have to show they can do it on the road, but there’s no better place to try than Florida on Friday.
Drop That Score
#2 Florida (197.325) – While it still ranked as one of the highest scores of the weekend, Florida’s 197.325 from its victory over Alabama reflected a half-point decrease from last weekend’s result to render it the team’s weakest result of the young season. As a first road mark of 2023, it’s not one that Florida would be able to keep around for NQS if the goal is a #1 national ranking.
#3 Michigan (196.975) – Michigan did not really have the landings on Sunday. Couple that with a repeat of the first meet’s shaky beam performance (Michigan now ranks just 19th on beam but no lower than 5th anywhere else), and it was never going to be a journey to remember. The loss will sting more than the score, but Michigan is at a point in its evolution where anything with a 196 in it is a miss, and this one will definitely be a drop.
#6 UCLA (196.900) – Another top team putting up a season low in week 3, UCLA fell 2 spots in the rankings and down to #6 with this 196.9 result away against Washington, not living up to the superior quality of week 2’s showing. The vault performance typified this competition, with three excellent vaults matched by three vaults you’d want to drop, and the 9.7s are always going to define the performance more than the 9.9s. With one great beam showing bookended by two shaky ones so far in 2023, beam is currently UCLA’s lowest-ranked event, when it really shouldn’t be.
#7 Cal (196.400) – The lack of eMjae Frazier made itself fiercely known in the rough 48s that Cal scored on vault and floor on Friday, emphasizing how important her 9.9+ potential on both events is to the whole plan this season for a team that hasn’t been rolling too many gymnasts deep in the early meets. Cal’s first venture down to the 196s so far this season is a definite drop, though the team was already among the very few schools with two countable road scores heading into this one.
#13 Alabama (196.450) – Alabama dropped to #13 in the country this week after joining the season-low club with this 196.450. This result may start to feel more urgent for Alabama than it will for some of these other teams because the Tide’s scores have dropped each successive week so far and the team doesn’t have a 197 yet, meaning there’s no really countable score (at least for Alabama expectations) on the slate yet.
All That Remains Is Chaos
#4 Utah (197.275) – The good news for Utah is that this 197.275 allowed the team to move up a spot in the rankings and regain the top position in the conference, which means technically this was a productive result. But also, it came in a loss to Oklahoma that was never really all that close, so for a team that has national championship aspirations, the technical productivity of the result will pale against this being a loss against Oklahoma with a margin of more than a fall, as well as a second low 197 in three meets.
#8 LSU (197.150) – Similarly, LSU was able to use this week’s low 197 to move up a spot in the rankings, defeat Missouri, and reestablish itself as at least a top three team in the conference in a week when 197s were relatively difficult to come by all of a sudden. On the other hand, LSU will not be thrilled with the current beam situation, where a fall, a 9.6, and two other 9.7s undermined what otherwise could have been a huge result. LSU now ranks 18th on beam, and “what to do without Kiya Johnson” is still a very open question.
#9 Denver (196.725) – Denver won’t love losing to Oregon State or scoring a season low, but in the overall scheme, this 196.725 also would have been a counting road score for NQS at the end of last year’s regular season. So if the same result has gone from being a counter to being a low point, that indicates upward movement overall.